Thursday, November 17, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude: Quotes

By: Patrick J. Finn

"We worry instead that the low levels of literacy among them make them a liability for the rest of us. The idea is that if we could raise their level of literacy they would join the haves. America would have no poor, just rich, richer, and richest."

This quote stuck out to me because it does just seem so true to what is going on in our school systems. Although everyone has their own level of literacy some students don't even get the chance to become great at it. The skill level of literacy is easily shown by social class. If students can't get to the best education they don't have any other choice but to go to that school. And they wont have the chance of the best education coming to them. They have to deal with what they can get based on what they can afford. While students families who have the economic fortune of choosing the schools they want to go to can go get the education they feel like they deserve because they have the money for it.

Image result for pictures of tracking students by ability

"There were about four hundred eighth graders who were sorted by reading scores from the highest to the lowest and divided into fifteen classes, 8-1s being the highest, 8-15s being the lowest. But they didn't divide them exactly equally. While the 8-1s through the 8-13s started with around twenty-seven students, the two lowest classes started out with only fifteen. The theory was that the slowest students would get more attention in smaller classes." 

The idea behind this organization of students is a great one. Having this type of system should be able to give students the individual attention they need in order to move up to the next bracket of study. However as we read along it becomes more of a enrich the children who are already in the higher groups and whatever happens, happens in the lower groups. Students were moved to the lower groups if they were having disciplinary issues that weren't even related to how much they know. So although the idea of small class sizes sound great for helping students it turns out they eventually just become a "babysitting" type of class. This quote reminds me of our other reading this week by Jeannie Oakes. In her article she discusses  how children are being tracked through school based on how well they're performing. Although this can be helpful showing which students could use enrichment and which children need the extra help it also makes room for separating them. According to Nikole Hannah Jones, separating students changes the kind of education that a child is going to get. She was talking about separation by race, but it also works when separating students by what we consider their capabilities. Using tracking the way it's used now, as a way to group children into categories based on what they are capable of, needs to change so that children are able to move up the line of education.

"Teachers who see themselves as allies of their working-class students can help their students see that literacy and school knowledge could be potent weapons in their struggle for a better deal by connection school knowledge with the reality of working-class student's lives."

This quote shows that when some teachers are able to relate to their students they are able to help them connect their education to what they will need in the real world outside of school. A teacher who works in the same type of community that they grew up in know what kind of life their students are going to have. Typically when someone is from a certain class they are born into that social class, go to schools that other students from that social class is from, and then get the same types of jobs that their parents had.Having this type of cycle makes it so the teachers know what the students are going to need to stay in their social class. In order for people to exceed the limits students are going to need to be taught more than just the minimum of what is considered needed. With out changes being made to the educational standards for students, they are always going to be in the social class they were born in when they become adults. Of course there are exceptions but not enough to make a difference in societies.

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